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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Evaluation of the Exploratory Advanced Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26616.
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2022 C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP SPECIAL RELEASE 2 Subject Areas Research (about research) Evaluation of the Exploratory Advanced Research Program Jeffrey Alexander Lena Leonchuk Michael Gallaher RTI International Research Triangle Park, NC Gretchen B. Jordan 360 Innovation LLC Pacific Grove, CA

Published reports of the COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to https://www.mytrb.org/MyTRB/Store/default.aspx Printed in the United States of America The Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) Special Release series publishes the findings of projects managed by CRP upon request by organizations outside of CRP’s core research programs. CRP SPECIAL RELEASE 2 Project TFPE-02 ISSN 2831-4670 ISBN 978-0-309-68700-3 © 2022 by the National Academy of Sciences. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the graphical logo are trademarks of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, NHTSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board does not develop, issue, or publish standards or specifications. The Transportation Research Board manages applied research projects which provide the scientific foundation that may be used by Transportation Research Board sponsors, industry associations, or other organizations as the basis for revised practices, procedures, or specifications. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Cooperative Research Programs do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names or logos appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. C R P S P E C I A L R E L E A S E S E R I E S

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non-governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www .nationalacademies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.

C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The evaluation team for the study that led to this report would like to thank the members of the TFPE-02 project panel for their oversight of this project; their input into the evaluation scope, design, and analysis; and their reviews of the work products leading to this report. The project benefited greatly from their experienced perspectives and relevant expertise. Special thanks go to the staff members at FHWA who provided documents, data, recollections, and insights about the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program. In particular, the team is indebted to the EAR Program Manager, David Kuehn, for access to voluminous archived documents from the pro- gram and its research projects, providing input critical to understanding and assessment of the program. The team also appreciates the support of Mary Huie in facilitating and supervising this evaluation at FHWA. The team appreciates the many Agreement Officer’s Technical Representatives, principal inves- tigators, highway research experts, EAR panel review members, and others who contributed their time and thoughts in interviews during the development and conduct of this evaluation. Dr. Jeffrey Alexander and Dr. Lena Leonchuk of RTI International led this effort under the supervision of the evaluation project Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael Gallaher. Dr. Gretchen B. Jordan of 360 Inno- vation LLC provided expertise and advice throughout the project. The team leadership also thanks the RTI research staff involved—in particular, Ben Fein-Smolinski, Joshua Fletcher, Kirsten Franzen, Jonathan Merker, and Daniel Smith—for their contributions. Any errors in this report are the sole responsibility of the lead authors. CRP STAFF FOR CRP SPECIAL RELEASE 2 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Ann M. Hartell, Senior Program Officer Andrew C. Lemer, Senior Program Officer (retired) Natalie Barnes, Director of Publications Heather DiAngelis, Associate Director of Publications Lisa Whittington, Editor CRP PROJECT TFPE-02 PANEL James Darryll Dockstader, Florida Department of Transportation, Tallahassee, FL Paula J. C. Hammond, WSP, Seattle, WA Cameron T. Kergaye, Utah Department of Transportation, Holladay, UT Peggi S. Knight, Iowa Department of Transportation, Ames, IA Katie F. Turnbull, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX Theodore P. Zoli III, HNTB Corporation, New York, NY Mary Huie, FHWA Liaison

By Ann M. Hartell Staff Officer Transportation Research Board CRP Special Release 2: Evaluation of the Exploratory Advanced Research Program presents an evaluation of the Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advanced Research Program. The report will be of interest to those responsible for administering exploratory research and technology transfer programs. The report also addresses the broader topics of technology transfer, diffusion of innovation, and methods to quantify the value of research. This report documents an evaluation of the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Pro- gram of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The EAR Program was initiated in 2007; from fiscal years 2007 through 2020, the total investment in the program amounts to just over $65 million. EAR projects are solicited with a call for proposals from research organizations across a range of topics relevant to FHWA’s mission, including human- automation interaction, safety improvements through advanced data analysis, innovative materials for highway pavements and structures, methods to improve transportation sys- tem resilience, and technologies for alternative fuels development. Selected projects for the EAR Program are in early stages of development, but each project must include a plan to identify and contact organizations that can support or conduct follow-on research to more fully develop the innovation with an eye to eventual implementation. For CRP Project TFPE-02, “Exploratory Advanced Research,” RTI International was tasked to evaluate EAR Program processes, the short- and long-term outputs, and the overall role of the EAR Program in the transportation research and technology ecosystem. Potential future activities for the EAR Program are also identified. A set of case studies pro- vides more detailed assessments of EAR Program projects in three topic areas: cementitious materials, truck platooning, and video analytics. F O R E W O R D

ABOUT THE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY EVALUATION PROGRAM The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Trans- portation that supports state and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribally owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). A significant portion of FHWA’s research activities, evolved over many years in response to successive legislative initiatives, is managed by agency staff from the Research and Technology (R&T) Program housed at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, and other locations. The aim of FHWA’s R&T activities is to support FHWA’s mission through deployment of innovations that address current issues and emerging challenges, create efficiencies in the highway and transportation sector, and provide infor- mation to support policy decisions. The FHWA Research and Technology Evaluation Program seeks to assess and communicate the benefits of FHWA’s R&T efforts; ensure that the organization is expending public resources efficiently and effectively; and build evidence to shape and improve policymaking. FHWA partners with State transportation departments, local agencies, industries, and academia to conduct research on issues of national significance and accelerate adoption and deployment of promising research products. To ensure that R&T activities are effectively and efficiently contributing to FHWA’s mission, R&T staff apply leading practices in research management and occasionally undertake formal evalua- tions of select activities, projects, or programs. In addition, FHWA’s R&T staff solicit advice from the Transportation Research Board (TRB), particularly the Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC). The RTCC issues annual reports commenting on R&T programs generally and suggesting adjustments to program strategies and approaches to improve program relevance, effectiveness, and impact. In 2014, FHWA initiated the R&T Evaluation Program with two core objectives: 1. To evaluate the selection process by which research is funded, and 2. To assess the effectiveness of selected projects within the R&T portfolio, in terms of both research outcomes and technology transfer activities. Under the R&T Evaluation Program’s initial phase, 16 evaluations conducted by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center were completed or in progress at the end of calendar year 2019. FHWA has asked TRB to undertake management of evaluations under a second stage of the R&T Evaluation Program. TRB’s activities under this TRB-FHWA Program Evaluation (TFPE) effort comprise a series of projects evaluating research activities designated by FHWA and conducted by RTI International under TRB’s direction and oversight. To date, the following projects have been completed: • TFPE-01, Asphalt Binder Quality Tester • TFPE-02, Exploratory Advanced Research • TFPE-03, Ultra-High Performance Concrete Connections These evaluations are intended to generate evidence and provide data-driven assessments that substantiate the contributions of FHWA’s R&T Program to fulfilling the agency’s mission and strate- gic goals. The evaluations are focused on estimating and forecasting the socioeconomic returns from investments in R&T Program activities to inform future research plans and improve technology transition outcomes. To this end, the evaluations include quantitative estimates of impact metrics. In addition, the evaluations provide input on data collection, tracking, and monitoring for ongoing program evaluation and improvement.

1 Summary 4 Section 1 Introduction 4 1.1 Background Information on the EAR Program 7 1.2 Evaluation Purpose and Design 8 1.3 Overview of Evaluation Methodology and Activities 10 Section 2 Evaluation of EAR Program Processes 10 2.1 EAR Program Objectives and Strategy 13 2.2 EAR Program Management and Activities 23 2.3 Findings from the Process Evaluation 24 Section 3 Evaluation of EAR Program Outcomes and Impact 24 3.1 Overview: Outputs and Outcomes Attributable to EAR Program Research 25 3.2 Outputs from Case Studies and Cross-Case Analysis 31 3.3 Outcomes from Case Studies and Cross-Case Analysis 33 3.4 Potential and Realized Socioeconomic Outcomes of EAR Program Research 33 3.5 Findings from Outcomes Evaluation 35 Section 4 Evaluation of EAR Program Effectiveness 35 4.1 Evaluation of EAR Program Portfolio 36 4.2 Effectiveness of EAR Program Support for Research Transition and Impact 37 4.3 Assessment of EAR Program Impact Relative to Objectives 37 4.4 Findings from Program Effectiveness Evaluation and Potential Options 39 Bibliography 40 Glossary of Terms 42 Acronyms and Abbreviations 43 Appendix A Case Study on Cementitious Materials 49 Appendix B Case Study on Truck Platooning 54 Appendix C Case Study on Video Analytics 58 Appendix D FHWA EAR Program Principal Investigator Survey C O N T E N T S

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Beginning in 2019, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requested that TRB be directly involved in managing evaluations of selected projects undertaken by the agency.

The TRB Cooperative Research Program's CRP Special Release 2: Evaluation of the Exploratory Advanced Research Program presents an evaluation of the program, which works on a range of topics, including human-automation interaction, safety improvements through advanced data analysis, innovative materials for highway pavements and structures, methods to improve transportation system resilience, and technologies for alternative fuels development.

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